Weekly study6 hours
Understanding English Dictionaries
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Discover the fascinating world of English dictionaries
While many people use dictionaries, they may not know very much about them, especially if they’re online. We aren’t usually aware of which dictionary an entry has come from, why the word was included in the dictionary, how the dictionary compilers assembled this information, or how valid it is.
On this course you will explore the ins and outs of English dictionaries, learning from established dictionary editors and researchers. You will explore subjects such as trends in lexicographic research, possible dictionary entry components, and the content and wording of definitions.
Over the six weeks of the course, learners explore the key areas of the curriculum below through readings, articles, videos and multimedia resources, quizzes, social engagement with fellow learners and active learning resources:
- The reasons why we use dictionaries.
- The differences between ‘landmark’ dictionaries such as the Oxford English Dictionary and less conventional products such as collaborative and crowdsourced dictionaries.
- What goes into a dictionary – who decides, and how?
- Dictionaries and dictionary information for different users.
- The stages in corpus-based lexicography.
- How meanings are created, why some words have more than one meaning, how lexicographers identify meanings and how meanings are explained in a dictionary.
Learning on this course
You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...
- Compare the content and wording of definitions.
- Develop your understanding of the lexicographical choices and computational methods surrounding the selection and ordering of word meanings.
- Reflect on the range of possible dictionary entry components.
- Assess the roles of language technology, corpora and crowdsourcing in the dictionary compilation process.
- Explore some of the latest trends in lexicographic research.
Who is the course for?
This course is for anyone with a general interest in the English language. It might also be useful for those studying or teaching English, languages or lexicography.
Please note that the individuals listed below under the title “Who will you learn with?” may be subject to change.
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